FootballScoop is proud to announce that Lane Kiffin is the 2016 FootballScoop Offensive Coordinator of the Year presented by ProGrass as selected by prior winners.
It would be understandable if Alabama's offense took a step back in 2016. After all, the Tide lost the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and added a true freshman starting quarterback.
Instead, the Tide got better.
Alabama jumped from 30th to 13th nationally in scoring and 49th to 18th in yards per play while continually evolving the offense. In fact, Alabama won three SEC title and registered three College Football Playoff appearances with three starting quarterbacks -- each with a different skill set, each with the attack tailored to his strengths -- in the three years Kiffin called plays for Alabama.
The 2016 edition was piloted by true freshman Jalen Hurts, who completed 220-of-337 passes (65.3 percent) for 2,592 yards (7.7 per attempt) with 22 touchdowns against nine interceptions while ranking as the team's second-leading rusher, carrying 162 times for 841 yards with a team-high 12 touchdowns. Hurts's 841 yards and dozen scores are by far the most for any Tide quarterback in the Nick Saban era, previously topped by Blake Sims's 350 yards and seven scores in 2014, further proving Kiffin's ability to mold the offense to its talent.
On the ground, Damien Harris led an Alabama attack that ranked 14th nationally in rushing and eighth in yards per carry with 3,185 yards and 28 touchdowns on 555 carries. The Tide ranked in the top-10 nationally for rushes of 10-plus, 20-plus and 30-plus yards.
As a group, Alabama ranked 29th in red zone conversions and 14th on third downs. Their 471.3 total yards per game and 6.62 per play stand second in the SEC, and their 40.5 points per game average led the conference by a full four points per game. This is the first time a Saban-led Alabama team has led the conference in scoring.
Hurts, wide receiver ArDarius Stewart and offensive lineman Cam Robinson earned First Team All-SEC nods, and tight end O.J. Howard and wide receiver Calvin Ridley garnered Second Team All-SEC accolades. Hurts also netted Freshman All-America honors from ESPN and USA Today and was named the SEC's Offensive Player of the Year by the league's coaches and the Associated Press.
Kiffin began coaching as an undergraduate assistant when, as he put it, future No. 1 pick David Carr arrived at Fresno State as a true freshman and promptly pushed him into coaching. His first official job was as a graduate assistant at Colorado State in 1999. Kiffin spent a year as a quality control assistant with the Jacksonville Jaguars before joining Pete Carroll's staff at USC, first as tight ends coach, then wide receivers, then as passing game coordinator and offensive coordinator. He deposited stints as head coach of the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee and USC before joining Saban's staff in 2014.
He was named Florida Atlantic's head coach on Dec. 13.
"Lane did a phenomenal job for us over the last three years, and we appreciate the impact he made to the success of the program. We are excited for him to have this opportunity to be the head coach at Florida Atlantic, and we wish him all the best," Saban said. "He did a tremendous job of molding an offensive system that fit our players, and he is a great hire for the Florida Atlantic football program."
The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards presented by ProGrass are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. The finalists (Matt Canada [Pittsburgh], Darrin Chiaverini/Brian Lindgren [Colorado], Kirk Ciarrocca [Western Michigan], Ivin Jasper [Navy], Joe Moorhead [Penn State], Lincoln Riley [Oklahoma], Jonathan Smith [Washington] and Kiffin) were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel. The prior winners selected this year's winner.
Kiffin will receive his award and be recognized at an event at the AFCA Convention in January.
Previous winners of the Offensive Coordinator of the Year award are Kevin Wilson (Oklahoma, 2008), Bryan Harsin (Boise State, 2009), Gus Malzahn (Auburn, 2010), Kliff Kingsbury (Houston, 2011 and Texas A&M, 2012), Philip Montgomery (Baylor, 2013), Tom Herman (Ohio State, 2014) and Lincoln Riley (Oklahoma, 2015).
18th Nationally - Yards Per Play
14th Nationally - Rushing
13th Nationally - Scoring
First Saban team to lead SEC in scoring
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